Many people enjoy the feeling of abrasive cleaning while in the shower, often using long-handled brushes, rough cloths, or body scrubs to remove dead skin cells while getting clean. Unlike some other methods of exfoliation, body scrubs combine cleaning or moisturizing agents with a granulated abrasive, which the user rubs into his or her skin and then rinses off while bathing. While a body scrub can be made up of all sorts of ingredients, many natural body scrubs are often based on coarse salt, sugar, or ground nuts or nut hulls. Some natural body scrubs are used purely for exfoliation. Others do double duty as cleansers or moisturizers.
Popular natural body scrubs are often made with salt or sugar. Other abrasive materials used in body scrubs include ground rice, beans, and ground pumice. Oatmeal is a popular scrub ingredient and is often mixed with water and used as a facial scrub. Coffee grounds and cocoa powder are also common ingredients in both commercial and do it yourself natural body scrubs.
Scrubs that are used mainly for exfoliation come in either dry or paste form and can be used before or after washing the skin with soap. Dry and paste scrubs are blended with water before application. Cleansing scrubs blend an abrasive with a liquid detergent or soap. Users of cleansing scrubs may want to use a separate facial scrub, as these tend to contain gentler ingredients and finer abrasives. A very popular type of moisturizing scrub suspends coarse sugar or salt in a moisturizing oil. After scrubbing, the user rinses off the salt or sugar, but oil residue remains, providing some protection for skin during the day.
Body exfoliation not only feels great, but has other benefits as well. Scrubs can also help with personal grooming, such as shaving. Many women use natural body scrubs as a preparation for shaving their legs, as the exfoliation sloughs off dead skin cells that can interfere with getting a close shave. Aromatherapy body scrubs include essential oils that can be calming or invigorating as needed. Users should always take appropriate caution when selecting a scrub, as they may be sensitive to one or more of the ingredients. Scrubs should generally not be used on skin that is sensitive or broken, nor should they be used on acne, as they can make breakouts worse.